I went to my dentist appointment.
“Aaaaaaaaahhhhh,” I opened my mouth like a baby bird every time the hygienist came near me. I couldn’t answer any of her questions because my toes were curling with fear. Those metal instruments scraping against my sensitive teeth and poking mercilessly at my gums.
“Aaaaaaahhhhh!” as I caught my reflection in the mirror as the blood was seeping out from around my gums. Panic struck me. I tried to stay calm, reaching down oh so slowly to put the pump on “Suspend” mode, as my nerves make my bloodsugar plummet. “You okay?” the hygienist asked, scraping across my molar and making the hair on my arms shudder.
“I’m fine. Just keep going.” I said, only though a mouth full of her fingers. So it sounded more like “Ib fibe. Tuskeeb go en.”
She finished me up. I escaped the office, nerves on edge but satisfied that I was safe for another six months. I put the key into the ignition of The Jetta, pushed aside the dangling tendrils of the hibiscus plant (I’ll explain in a minute), and headed for Route 1 North, towards Chris’s house. My new house.
My car was teeming with the last minute items from the move. In making sure my old apartment was completely empty, I had to forgo the rational “packing” course and opt for “tossing things haphazardly into the car” mode. A bag full of cleaning supplies, a roll of paper towels, and my snow boots rustled about on the back seat. An African Violet teetered precariously on the floor. And my giant hibiscus plant was everywhere. Long branches with big pink flowers were bobbing up and down every time I accelerated too aggressively. (Which was every time.)
So I advanced up the road. Not feeling too great, but I had just come from the Evil Dentist’s Office so I chalked up my headache to that. (Faithful Reader is already churning this one out, aren’t you? Headache = low bloodsugar. Well done, F.R.) I was on the phone with Chris as I drove, but realized that I felt bizarre.
“I am going to pull over. I think I need to test.” I told him. He urged me to do just that. “I’ll wait on the phone with you,” he said.
Pulled over. Grabbed the meter. Tink. The lancet hit my fingertip. Ew. The blood. 5…4…3…2…1 … 40 mg/dl.
“Holy shit, Chris. I’m 40. I need to get some juice or something.”
He remained on the phone as I pulled into the nearby gas station. “Get some juice, baby.” “Okay, okay.” I told him I would call him right back, as soon as I bought and drank some juice.
I stumbled into the gas station, lost in my own head. Headache: check. Dizzy: check. Arms and legs weak, as though they’d run a marathon the rest of me didn’t attend: check. But my mind was frighteningly clear. I knew exactly what was going on. I knew I needed to make it to the back of the store, where the coolers were, grab a juice and throw it down as fast as possible.
These waves of nausea and dizziness swept over me. I felt them dawning in my ankles, rising up to my waist and cresting just over my eyes, rendering me lost for a second. I paused in walking while the waves washed over me. And I held out my hands to brace myself if I fell as I made my way towards the juice.
Grabbed the cold glass doors. Dole Orange Juice … the bottle looked so familiar. In one motion, I upcapped the bottle, drank the juice in barely two sips, and eased my shaking frame against the doors.
The man behind the counter didn’t see me struggling at the back of his store. He didn’t notice that tears were running down my face as I brought the empty juice bottle to his register to pay for it. The cell phone, open and dialed to Chris’s number, was hanging limply from my hands.
“You want pay for that bottle?”
“Yes. Please. My name is Kerri.” I didn’t want to tell him my name but I couldn’t help but think that if he knew my name then I would be safer.
“One dollar. Forty-nine cents. You want ticket?”
“Yes. Please. I’m having a diabetic low bloodsugar reaction.” I offered a weak smile, handing him my money.
“Juice. Tickets. Here. Good luck, lady.”
Keys in the ignition, I tried to relax as the sugar eased into my blood stream. I called Chris and promptly started to cry at his “Are you okay? Did you drink the juice, baby?”
“I’m fine. I drank the juice. I’ll be okay…” Ragged breaths. The plastic bag rustled as I threw in the empty bottle of juice. The arms of the giant hibiscus flowers shuddered and eased around my shoulders.
It wasn’t until I was driving back home, bloodsugar stabilized at 97 mg/dl, that I realized there were two lottery tickets clutched in my hand.